Friday, 10 October 2014

Attack Victim Fights Back

       Mum was told the police were dealing with something urgent, she didn't realise it was her daughter they were dealing with.

On January 21st 2008, Jessica Knight, a 14 year old schoolgirl, was stabbed twenty times and left for dead in a frenzied attack in Astley Park in Chorley, Lancashire. Found by a passing cyclist she was rushed to hospital and spent over three hours in theatre with medics desperately trying to save her life. Her mother reported her missing at 9pm only to be told that police were busy dealing with something urgent. Little did she know at the time that the urgent matter they were dealing with was her own daughter.

Jessica spent six weeks in a coma and woke up one day after a visit by Spice Girl Geri Halliwell. As a result of the attack Jessica sustained stab wounds to her bowel, chest and neck, narrowly missing a vital artery. She also suffered a fractured eye socket and a stroke which affected the left side of her body. She was finally released from hospital in May 2008 after multiple operations and an intense period of rehabilitation.

In December 2008 Kristofer Beddar, an unemployed French national was given a life sentence for attempted murder. On the evening of the attack he drank half a bottle of whisky after being losing his job as a trainee baker at Tesco.

Jessica, now 21, is making a concerted effort to move on with her life and is thankful for the magnificent support she received from friends and family. One of her biggest supports was her Grandmother, Pat Walmsley who maintained a bedside vigil throughout the height of her ordeal.

Thankfully Jessica doesn't remember anything about that cold evening in 2008. But over the years she had to battle against the odds, a fight that that included severe nerve pain as well as increasing worries about her future. She also became frustrated at not being able to complete her GCSE's and often felt like she was a step behind her fellow pupils.

She feels that as a result of what happened she had to grown up quickly and now has a new perspective on life and how quickly it can be taken away from you in an instant of madness. The subject of knife crime is close to her heart and she is hoping to do whatever she and her family can to raise awareness. Although hearing about knife crime and watching it on television often brings memories flooding back.

Jessica is now determined to rebuild a life for herself and dreams of having a career in graphic design. She doesn't believe in looking backwards and as far as she is concerned the man who attacked her doesn't exist. He means nothing to her and that's how she is determined to live her life. Although she is not looking forward to the day when he is released.

Jessica also has some important advice for other victims of knife crime. She says that 'victims should not go through it alone'. And that, 'it is important that they talk to somebody that they trust, whether it's a friend or a member of the family who can help them through the darkest times.'

Jessica has certainly taken the road less travelled but hopefully now she is coming out on the other side.


                                                                   (C) AllyAtherton

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